Week after week Northern announce a huge wave of cancellations across the network on Sundays.
It’s not due to engineering works to improve the line, and it’s not due to industrial action. Local residents have been asking what is going on, so I asked Northern to provide a clear explanation of the situation.
It all goes back to Northern being unable to manage their own work force. They don’t have enough staff to run the timetabled services unless people voluntarily choose to work extra days.
Here’s what Northern had to say:
“The primary cause of the Sunday service disruptions is that the terms and conditions of employment of our crews in the North West do not include Sundays as a part of the working week, so, provided our drivers notify managers in advance, they are not obliged to work more than 1 Sunday in 4, and even here, if their route is altered (due to engineering works) then then they can refuse to work this route.
We are in the process of negotiating a “New Deal for Drivers”, however, this is in relation to much more than just Sunday working, so is taking much longer than we would have liked.
However, as we move out of the holiday period, more drivers are making themselves available to work on Sundays – as can be seen this weekend, where only the Wigan – Stalybridge service is uncovered, and here we are providing two legs of rail replacement buses – between Wigan and Bolton and then again from Manchester Victoria to Stalybridge.”